2014 Prospect Profile: Maurice Ways

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan still has a hole at receiver despite picking up consensus four-star Drake Harris. Will Maurice Ways help fill that void? What would he bring to Michigan's offense?

247: Three-star, #84 WR
Scout: Three-star, #50 WR
Rivals: Three-star, #54 WR

Breakdown

Maurice's tape isn't anything spectacular. This is something that should be expected: Ways has only been playing football for a few short years. He displays steady hands and concentration to go along with good but not great speed and explosiveness. His agility is slightly below average, but I think he plays with a tight style right now that should loosen up once he gets to the next level. He's a great basketball player, receiving attention from MAC schools to play round ball and leading his team to a state title this year. Physically, he stands at 6'3", 195 pounds, making him a receiver who could put on a solid fifteen pounds of muscle and become a legitimate red zone threat.

So, why would I write a humdrum paragraph about Ways' skills after claiming that he's destined to blow up at the next level for the last two months? Because in my opinion, Ways is one of the few recruits who come around every year only to have their talents under appreciated because of certain circumstances. In Moe's case, his lack of experience on the football field leads me to believe that he has some major talent bubbling underneath his average film.

First of all, Maurice has the perfect frame to be an all-around wide receiver at the next level. He's a legitimate 6'3", yet he isn't lanky and destined to be a jump-ball receiver for the rest of his career because of a lack of explosiveness. He'll definitely be quicker when he's pushing the 205-pound mark, and he already has the vertical explosion to contend for jump balls. Secondly, I think he's much further back mentally on the field than many other BCS-level receiver recruits. I don't mean that he doesn't understand schemes or responsibilities -- he seemed like an extremely bright young man when I talked to him on the phone -- but rather that he looks like a player who still isn't completely familiar with the natural feel of the game. Ways only started playing football when he transferred to Country Day because a coach pulled him aside and told him that he could be great at the sport if he tried, and in my opinion that coach hit the jackpot. Scouts love to claim that they called it when a low-level recruit blows up to be an all-conference performer or better, and I'm putting my chips on Ways to be that player for me.

Recruitment

Maurice's first offers started rolling in early in 2013, mostly from MAC schools. Iowa and Kansas upped their interest in him weeks later, and both came through with offers shortly thereafter. Rutgers did the same, and suddenly Ways was becoming a popular under-the-radar type of recruit. He has taken unofficial visits to Northwestern, Michigan State and Michigan, and I spoke to him about what an offer from the Wolverines would mean before the staff came through:

Did you grow up a fan of a certain college?

Oh yea, I grew up a huge Michigan fan. I was raised on it. Every Saturday at noon or 3:30 we'd watch the Michigan game, it was a big thing for our family. My first Michigan game was in 2007 when Michigan played Ohio State. Me and my dad went, it was crazy. It was cold outside and the atmosphere was unbelievable, and I just thought wow, what if I get a chance to play in this game? That would be amazing, so the fact that it could actually come true is amazing.

Would you call Michigan the dream offer?

Yea, definitely. It would definitely be a dream come true. I'd have to consider my options if they do offer me, but it would definitely be up there. That's really where my mom wants me to go. It would be a great offer and opportunity, and if it happens that's great but if it doesn't I'll just keep working.

It's obvious that Michigan was his childhood favorite. The staff came through with an offer earlier than expected; Maurice has probably been mulling over the possibility of a commitment ever since.

Prognostication

It has to be Michigan. Ways' mother loves the Wolverines, his family wants him to find a great academic institution, and he celebrated every Michigan win growing up as a child. Michigan State looked like the only real competitor before, but even if the Spartans come through with an offer it will be too little, too late. If Maurice doesn't end up at Michigan it will only be because he didn't pull the trigger fast enough, and I highly, highly doubt that will be the case.

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